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Such are the terms of the original letter, and it will be at once seen how fraudulent has been the attempt made by the Latin translation of Madrignanon to impose upon the world, and to set up for Portugal a claim of priority of discovery.
The author of the Memoir, maintains that the most northern point reached by Cortereal was the gulf of St. Lawrence, or, at the utmost, the southern extremity of Labrador; but the arguments which go to prove that his voyage extended along the coast of Labrador, appear to be far more reasonable on this point.10
It is very easy to imagine the triumph with which such a discovery would be received at the court of Emanuel; independent of all considerations of a mercantile character, (which entered very largely into such projects in those days,) it was very gratifying to the nation that their first attempt in the frozen north should have been crowned with so much success :—but it was a more substantial, though a basely mercenary, motive, which induced them again to take the field. We have heard the Venetian ambassador laud the mild and laborious disposition of the natives Cortereal had so cruelly entrapped, as admirably fitted for slaves. “Twenty years before, the fort of D'Elmina had been erected on the shores of Africa, to follow up the suggestion of Alonzo Gonzales, which pointed out the southern Africans as an article of commerce. Here alone, then, there was a rich mine of wealth to the nation, and it is with feelings of grief and disgust that we learn how eagerly the king entered into a project which was to entail misery upon thousands of his fellow-creatures. Alas! where is it possible to point to a more blood-stained narrative of refined cruelty, than the annals of the African slave trade, which we thus trace back to this barbarous suggestion.
10 Edin. Cab. Lib. Polar Seas, p. 185—7.
Next year, Cortereal departed with two ships on a second voyage, and steered his course to the most northern extreme of his former voyage. Here he is described as entering a strait, (probably Hudson's,) but at this interesting point of the voyage a tempest arose, and he was separated from his companions, and never heard of more. The probability is, that he fell a victim to the just indignation of the relatives and friends of those natives, whom he had so cruelly carried off on his former visit.
When the news of this disaster reached Portugal, Michael Cortereal, grand door-keeper to the king, determined on setting out in search of his lost brother, whose dark and unhappy end he was destined to share; he never returned, and the deep still holds the secret of the fate of both. A third brother, Vasco Eanes, master of the king's household, yet remained, and was only prevented by the king's positive commands from following in their track.
“ The king,” says Goes, “ felt deeply the loss of these two brothers, so much the more as they had been educated by him; and
account, moved by royal and gracious tenderness, in the following year, he sent at his own expense two armed ships in search of them; but it could never be discovered where or in what manner either the one or the other was lost, on which account this province of Terra Verde, where it was supposed the two brothers perished, was called the Land of the Cortereals.” 12
11 He sailed on this second voyage, according to the Edin. Cab. Lib. (Discov. N. Coasts of America, p. 37,) on the 15th May, 1501, (also Barrow, pp. 40–45). It is impossible to reconcile this statement with the fact that Cortereal returned from his first voyage on the 8th of October, 1501.
12 Damiano Goes “ Chronica del Rey Dom Manuel," pt. I. c. 66.
Sebastian Cabot transfers his Services to Spain-Jealousy of
the Courtiers—Cabot's Return to England—Sent out by Henry VIII. to Extend his Discoveries, under Sir T. PertDisappointed through the Mutiny of his Crew, and Pusillanimity of their Commander- France enters the field of Arctic Discovery-Spain pursues the same object- Fresh Expeditions sent out by Francis I., under the command of Jacques Cartier-New attempt made by England, with its Disastrous Results-An endeavour of the French to Colonize Canada defeated by the Natives—Cabot's Return from Spain to England-Favourable Reception by Edward VI.- New Expedition framed by Cabot, under the King's sanction, commanded by Sir Hugh Willoughby and Richard Chancelor — Willoughby's Melancholy End - Chancelor penetrates to Moscow-Embassy of the Emperor of Russia to England.
FOURTEEN years elapse from the period of his celebrated voyage, before the illustrious name of Sebastian Cabot re-appears on the list of Arctic voyagers. We have before stated, that in 1512 he was induced to enter the service of Spain, probably, because he saw it was useless to hope for
any encouragement at home. Ferdinand would be anxious to withdraw, if possible, from the service of a youthful monarch full of enterprise and ambition, and possessed of the accumulated treasures of his thrifty father, a Navigator who had opened to England the glorious career of discovery, and Henry VIII., not knowing what he was losing, suffered himself to be robbed of a man whose equal was not to be found in his realms.
The Spanish sovereign speedily perceived the worth of his new minister. We find Cabot, with the title of captain, and a liberal allowance, holding in 1515, the dignified and important station of a Member of the Council of the Indies. In 1516, a voyage to discover the north-west passage was projected under his command; but the death of Ferdinand, at the beginning of that year, appears to have put an end to the contemplated expedition, and the long pent-up jealousy of the courtiers, which dared not, during the king's lifetime, exhibit itself in any marked manner, now broke forth, and Cabot, to escape its rancour, returned to England.
in 1517, Henry VIII. was induced to fit out a small squadron, in order to extend Cabot's former discoveries in the north. The chief command was given to Sir Thomas Pert, to whose faint-heartedness is to be attributed the ultimate failure of the voyage. On the 11th of June they had reached the north latitude of 67° 30', when a mutiny of the crew, added to the pusillanimity of the commander, compelled Cabot to return home.
It amounts almost to a certainty, that Cabot, in this voyage, entered what is at present known as Hudson's Bay, or at any rate, the strait which bears the same name; and it seems also highly probable, that Frobisher and Hudson in later times, were guided by what was known and published of Cabot's attempt before they undertook their several voyages. The subject is very fully discussed by his biographer, (pp. 27-37, and 290301,) to whose pages we must refer those who seek more information on so interesting a point.
In 1524 the French, for the first time, entered the field of Arctic discovery. In that year, by direction of Francis I., four ships were fitted out, and the command given to Giovanni Verazzano,
a Florentine, who coasted North America from the latitude 34° to 50', a distance of seven hundred leagues, embracing the whole of the present United States and a large portion of British America. Verazzano had frequent opportunities of meeting with the natives, and in the account of the voyage which he gave to Francis, he speaks of them in the highest terms. It has been thought probable that he first landed on the coast of Georgia, near the present town of Savannah.? In his indefatigable progress northwards, he however found a people as fierce and sullen as those with whom he had lately come in contact were mild and gentle. A further run of fifty leagues along the coast brought him to a cluster of thirty islands, separated by narrow channels, a description which precisely marks the present Bay of Penobscot. He pursued his course to the latitude of 50°, when his provisions failing, he sailed for France, and reached Dieppe in safety on the 8th July, 1524.
It is greatly to be regretted that nothing is known of the after life of Verazzano. That he was a man of great ability is apparent from the energy with which he carried out the above important voyage. It has been proved by the “Edinburgh Cabinet Library,”? that he was alive in 1537, and,
2 therefore, could not have been the “ Piedmontese pilot,” said in the “Memoir of Cabot,” (p. 278,) to have been slain on the coast of America in 1527, and which will be noticed in its proper place.
The disastrous battle of Pavia, which sent Francis a prisoner to Madrid, is a matter of history. “ France, without her sovereign, without money in
1 Forster's “ Discov. in North,” p. 433. 2 “ Discovery on the Northern Coasts of America,” p. 52.